nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2018‒02‒05
ten papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Jacob Moscona; Nathan Nunn; James A. Robinson
  2. Understanding the effect of international remittances on undernourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa: A spatial model approach By Hamed Sambo
  3. From definition to measurement: constructing a social cohesion index for South Africa By Justine Burns; Kate Lefko-Everett; Lindokuhle Njozela
  4. Man vs. Machine in Predicting Successful Entrepreneurs: Evidence from a Business Plan Competition in Nigeria By McKenzie, David J.; Sansone, Dario
  5. The role of micro and small scale enterprises in the Ethiopian economy, government intervention and alternative strategies: A CGE analysis By Ermias Engida; Mekdim Dereje; Ibrahim Worku; Saba Yifredew; Feiruz Yimer
  6. Counting What Counts: Africa’s Seminal Effort to Produce Harmonized Official Statistics on Governance, Peace and Security By Marie Laberge; Yeo Dossina; François Roubaud
  7. Condemned without hearing: An intersectional analysis of the practice of branding, banishing, and camping of alleged witches in Northern Ghana By Wumbla, I.
  8. The Impact of Olive Oil Exports on Economic Growth: Empirical Analysis from Tunisia By Bakari, Sayef
  9. Planning ahead for better neighborhoods: long run evidence from Tanzania By Michaels, Guy; Nigmatulina, Dzhamilya; Rauch, Ferdinand; Regan, Tanner; Baruah, Neeraj; Dahlstrand-Rudin, Amanda
  10. Anonymity of distance? Job search and labour market exclusion in a growing African city By Abebe, Girum; Caria, Stefano; Fafchamps, Marcel; Falco, Paolo; Franklin, Simon; Quinn, Simon

  1. By: Jacob Moscona; Nathan Nunn; James A. Robinson
    Abstract: We test the long-standing hypothesis that ethnic groups that are organized around `segmentary lineages' are more prone to conflict and civil war. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in segmentary lineage societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the defense of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate to larger-scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for this link between segmentary lineage and conflict across 145 African ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including an RD design at ethnic boundaries, we find that segmentary lineage societies experience more conflicts and ones that are longer in duration and larger in scale. We also find that the previously-documented relationship between adverse rainfall shocks and conflict within Africa is only found within segmentary lineage societies.
    JEL: D74 O55 Z1
    Date: 2018–01
  2. By: Hamed Sambo (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN))
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of remittances on undernourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa using panel data from 35 countries spanning the years 2001-2011. The panel Spatial Error Model (SEM) was used after taking into account the spatial interaction between countries. We find that remittances contribute to the reduction of undernourishment in Sub-Saharan African. However, the elasticity of calorie consumption to remittances is narrow. Moreover, the impact of remittances is more pronounced in intermediate income deciles countries than in the countries in lower income deciles and higher income deciles.
    Keywords: Remittances, Undernourishment, Spatial Error Model, Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: P22 P24 O15 O55
    Date: 2017–10
  3. By: Justine Burns (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town); Kate Lefko-Everett; Lindokuhle Njozela
    Abstract: Social cohesion has increasingly become a subject of interest for international organisations, governments, policy-makers and other practitioners. Whilst social cohesion is not a new concept, finding its origins in the work of Durkheim as early as 1893, it is the case that social cohesion has generated increasing interest from international governance institutions, states and policy-makers since the 1980s. This has often been in response to divisions and cleavages within societies, related to factors including economic downturn, tensions associated with migration, and ethnic or cultural conflict. Few would contest that in many ways, South Africa remains a deeply divided society. It thus perhaps comes as little surprise that, particularly given the declining focus on reconciliation within the national policy agenda, the South African government has increasingly focused on measures to deepen social cohesion through a range of different interventions and initiatives. However, while there is a widespread agreement that social cohesion influences economic and social development, and that nurturing a more cohesive society is an important policy goal in itself, little progress has been made in trying to measure it and track progress in this domain over time. One of the most severe limitations to this progress is the lack of definitional consensus on social cohesion. Yet, without clear definition of what is meant by social cohesion, it becomes difficult to assess whether social cohesion has improved or worsened. Without measurement, potential key determinants that are most important among a large number of factors that influence social cohesion (e.g., inequality, poverty, violence, gender conflicts, mistrust, and others) remain obscured, making it difficult to formulate policies that can be expected to materially improve social cohesion and achieve inclusive development.
    Keywords: social cohesion, South Africa
    Date: 2018
  4. By: McKenzie, David J.; Sansone, Dario
    Abstract: We compare the relative performance of man and machine in being able to predict outcomes for entrants in a business plan competition in Nigeria. The first human predictions are business plan scores from judges, and the second are simple ad-hoc prediction models used by researchers. We compare these (out-of-sample) performances to those of three machine learning approaches. We find that i) business plan scores from judges are uncorrelated with business survival, employment, sales, or profits three years later; ii) a few key characteristics of entrepreneurs such as gender, age, ability, and business sector do have some predictive power for future outcomes; iii) modern machine learning methods do not offer noticeable improvements; iv) the overall predictive power of all approaches is very low, highlighting the fundamental difficulty of picking winners; and v) our models can do twice as well as random selection in identifying firms in the top tail of performance.
    Keywords: business plans; entrepreneurship; Machine Learning; Nigeria
    JEL: C53 L26 M13 O12
    Date: 2017–12
  5. By: Ermias Engida; Mekdim Dereje; Ibrahim Worku; Saba Yifredew; Feiruz Yimer
    Abstract: Given the fact that Micro and Small scale enterprises (MSEs) are high on the Ethiopian government’s agenda for mid-term growth and transformation plan (GTP), this study aims to investigate the major contributions and the potential of this sector to the Ethiopian economy. Using a CGE modeling approach, we assess the role of MSEs towards the major development goals of the government: unemployment and poverty reduction. Three simulation scenarios were designed based on the current MSE development plan but with different implementation strategies. The strategy that the government is currently following to implement the MSE development plan was found to be performing the best on expanding overall production, but failed to tackle the critical issues of poverty and unemployment reduction. However, other alternative strategies were found to give the country the best solutions to these development concerns as well as investment. Female unemployment also reduced the most in these alternative scenarios. This shows that the MSE sector has the potential to meet the envisaged developmental goals in Ethiopia, but strategy adjustment is needed.
    Date: 2017
  6. By: Marie Laberge (Independent Expert, Associate Researcher, Montreal, Quebec); Yeo Dossina (African Union Commission (AUC), Statistics Division, Addis Ababa); François Roubaud (IRD, UMR DIAL, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine)
    Abstract: (english) The paper documents the practical experience of eleven African national statistical offices that tested and eventually institutionalized a methodology for producing official harmonized statistics in the area of governance, peace and security statistics between 2012 and 2017. This took place whilst the rest of the world was still debating the rationale for including this new domain in the next global development agenda. It situates Africa’s successful GPS-SHaSA experiment in the context of the continent’s long-standing commitment to “achieve political sovereignty through data autonomy”. The paper also presents some strategic advantages of the GPS-SHaSA methodology, provides illustrations using selected targets of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on how the four types of data generated by the methodology can inform policymaking. It finally concludes by identifying a number of methodological, institutional, financial and communicational investments necessary for GPS statistical production by NSOs to be sustainable, in Africa and beyond. _________________________________ (français) Cet article présente l’expérience concrète des instituts nationaux de la statistique (INS) de onze pays africains qui ont testé en pratique et institutionnalisé une méthodologie harmonisée pour produire des statistiques officielles dans le champ de la gouvernance, la paix et la sécurité (GPS) entre 2012 et 2017. Cette expérience s’est déroulée alors que le reste du monde était encore en train de débattre de la pertinence d’inclure ce nouveau champ thématique comme une composante à part entière de l’agenda global du développement post 2015. Le papier montre comment le succès de l’expérience GPS-SHaSA s’inscrit dans un engagement de longue date de l’Afrique pour « atteindre sa souveraineté politique à travers l’autonomie des données ». Il décrit également les avantages stratégiques de la méthodologie GPS-SHaSA, et offre quelques illustrations tirées de cibles particulières de l’Agenda 2063 de l’Afrique et de l’Objectif du Développement Durable (ODD) 16 pour montrer comment les quatre types de données produites par le projet peuvent informer les politiques publiques et le processus de décision. Il conclut en identifiant un certain nombre de défis méthodologiques, institutionnels, financiers et en termes de communication à relever pour que la production de données GPS par les INS puisse être durable, en Afrique et au-delà.
    Keywords: Measurement, Indicators, Governance, Peace, Security, Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2063, Household Surveys
    JEL: C18 C81 C83 O10 O55
    Date: 2017–12
  7. By: Wumbla, I.
    Date: 2018–01–26
  8. By: Bakari, Sayef
    Abstract: The contribution of this paper is investigating the influence of olive oil exports on Tunisian economic growth since it's never been treated before. With a view to fulfill this aim, annual data were compiled from the reports of Tunisian Central Bank for the periods between 1970 and 2016, was put to the proof by using Co integration analysis of Error Correction Model. According to the outcome of the analysis, olive oil exports have a positive incidence of economic growth in the long term and in the short run. These results appear that olive oil exports are a provenance of economic growth in Tunisia and emphasize the application of policies and strategies to encourage better exploitation in this strip.
    Keywords: Olive Oil Exports, Economic Growth, Cointegration, ECM, Tunisia.
    JEL: F0 F1 F11 F13 F14 O47 O55 Q17
    Date: 2017–10
  9. By: Michaels, Guy; Nigmatulina, Dzhamilya; Rauch, Ferdinand; Regan, Tanner; Baruah, Neeraj; Dahlstrand-Rudin, Amanda
    Abstract: What are the long run consequences of planning and providing basic infrastructure in neighborhoods, where people build their own homes? We study "Sites and Services" projects implemented in seven Tanzanian cities during the 1970s and 1980s, half of which provided infrastructure in previously unpopulated areas (de novo neighborhoods), while the other half upgraded squatter settlements. Using satellite images and surveys from the 2010s, we find that de novo neighborhoods developed better housing than adjacent residential areas (control areas) that were also initially unpopulated. Specifically, de novo neighborhood are more orderly and their buildings have larger footprint areas and are more likely to have multiple stories, as well as connections to electricity and water, basic sanitation and access to roads. And though de novo neighborhoods generally attracted better educated residents than control areas, the educational difference is too small to account for the large difference in residential quality that we find. While we have no natural counterfactual for the upgrading areas, descriptive evidence suggests that they are if anything worse than the control areas
    Keywords: urban economics; economic development; slums; Africa
    JEL: O18 R14 R31
    Date: 2017–09–01
  10. By: Abebe, Girum; Caria, Stefano; Fafchamps, Marcel; Falco, Paolo; Franklin, Simon; Quinn, Simon
    Abstract: Do obstacles to job search contribute to labour market exclusion in developing countries? To answer this question, we contrast two very different interventions, designed to alleviate spatial and informational constraints for unemployed youth in a congested African city: a transport subsidy and a job-application workshop. Both treatments have large positive effects on the probability of finding stable and formal jobs. Neither treatment has a significant average effect on the overall probability of employment, but we detect a sizeable increase in earnings and employment rates among the most disadvantaged job-seekers. Our results highlight the importance of job-search constraints as mechanisms for exclusion of the most disadvantaged. They also show that, if targeted well, low-cost interventions can have large impacts, improving equity in the labour market
    JEL: J22 J61 J64 M53 O18
    Date: 2017–10–01

This nep-afr issue is ©2018 by Sam Sarpong. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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